The first quarter of the 2004 AMA THQ Supercross Series is complete and already Aussie sensation Chad Reed is beginning to separate himself from the rest of the pack.

Reed took his third victory of the season last weekend in San Diego, and he's hoping to conclude with yet another win in the final of the three Anaheim rounds this Saturday [31 January].

Reed, who's in only his second full season of AMA Supercross, has built a 21-point lead over his Yamaha team-mate David Vuillemin, while veteran Honda ace Mike LaRocco stands third overall after four rounds. Phoenix winner Kevin Windham is a close fourth. Even though it's still very early in the season, it appears that the championship will come down to one of those four riders.

Pundits are saying that it appears Reed is trying to play mind-games with Windham by following him in the early laps of a race, but Reed debunks that theory.

"I think everyone races their own race," he said, having tied Hall of Famer Mike Bell for twelfth on the all-time AMA Supercross wins list with his San Diego victory, "I'm not here to try to psych Kevin out by sitting on him the first ten laps of the race. Following him is not fun at all. That four-stroke throws up a big roost. I just have to concentrate on getting good starts and being a little quicker at the beginning."

Even though Windham has only managed to finish in front of Reed once in four tries, he still believes this year's championship could go down to the wire.

"I think the reality has set in that Chad is going to be there every weekend," Windham said, "And, hopefully, he knows I'm going to be there too. I'm enjoying having good performances and I just have to focus on riding the best I can. I think for the rest of the year it's going to be a battle every race."

While Reed is looking strong in the premier 250 class, however, Ivan Tedesco has been even more dominant in the 125 West class.

Tedesco seems to be in that elusive zone of effortless riding. All of his moves are the right ones. In San Diego, a rider crashed in front of him and Tedesco made the perfect split-second decision to avoid the downed rider and continue on to protect his perfect record.

Even after a poor start last weekend in San Diego, he was able to work his way through the pack and go on to win his fourth race in as many starts. He now has a perfect score of 100 points after four rounds, a full 20 points ahead of team-mate Stephane Roncada, but he is trying to keep over-confidence from creeping into his mindset.

"I'm not going into the next race thinking that this is going to be easy," said the Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider, "All of these guys I'm up against are good riders. I'm going to have to fight for every one."

Tedesco had only one-career AMA 125 Supercross win coming into this season, but now is climbing the wins list with his five career wins. Another victory this weekend would move him into the top-20 on the all-time class list.

This Saturday's races are the last of three rounds at the popular Anaheim Stadium venue, and the last in southern California this season. The series moves to San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park next weekend.



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